What is the upcoming Global Irish Economic Forum About?

The Global Irish Economic Forum convenes for the fourth time in Dublin Castle between 19 and 21 November next. Considering that the first Forum met in September 2009, each meeting of the members of the Global Irish Network represents a snapshot of our national narrative, from crisis to recovery. With a fair economic wind now at our backs and within sight of the 2016 commemorations, fittingly this Forum looks to Ireland’s future and looks at some of the key questions facing us.

Where is Ireland’s place in the global economy? Ireland is a leader in attracting Foreign Direct Investment and sustaining cutting edge sectors like ICT, Pharma, Financial Services, Fintech, and Agri-business. However, the global economy remains unsettled, global trends offer both challenges and opportunities and the digital age will increasingly deliver disruptive creativity.

How do we drive indigenous growth? Entrepreneurs, new businesses and adaptation of existing ones are our future. Plenary discussions and breakout sessions explore how to promote them using our assets – our skills, creativity, capacity for innovation and design, our knowledge base in key sectors, and the resources of the digital age.

How can we best mobilise the global Irish as an asset? The Forum will look back briefly on its successful Global Irish Network initiatives like Connect Ireland, the Gathering and Irish Design 2015. The GIN is an important part of the global Irish but only a part of a vast matrix of connections. Alumni are a good example: how can we organise, utilise and sustain them in mutually beneficial relationships?

How do we relate to the global Irish? The island Irish and the global Irish experience the world from very different perspectives. Ireland is a geographic centre for the island Irish but by definition an imaginative or repository one for the Diaspora. How can we minimise inadvertently talking past each other? What are the best bridges between us? Culture? Exchanges? Irish Studies Programme? Emigrant Studies Programmes? How can we build on the success of the GIN and the GIEF in pooling ideas and sustaining relationships that span generations and the globe?

How do we achieve economic reliance and prosperity as we look to and plan for the next 100 years?   The men and women of 1916 risked and gave their lives for a vision. As we commemorate the centenary of the dramatic Declaration of a Republic at Easter 1916, how should we imagine Ireland a hundred years hence? That act of imagination is critical to the decisions we make here and now.

With the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, as host and a keynote speaker, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, and Minister for Diaspora Affairs Jimmy Deenihan, will each give keynote addresses to set the scene for the discussions and encourage actionable outcomes. Moderators, panellists, speakers and invitees alike are all in some way leaders in their field so we can expect this Forum, like its predecessors, to be stimulating and challenging.

You can find out more about the participants and the discussions here at the Global Irish website.

Eamonn McKee

DG Trade Division

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

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